Ryedale Writers

We normally meet once a month on a Monday at 7.30pm in the Studio/bar at Helmsley Arts Centre. However, because of the current Covid pandemic restrictions we are meeting on Zoom at 7.00pm instead.

Our next two Zoom meetings: Monday 15th March & Monday 12th April both at 7.00pm

Theme for 15th March meeting: “Yesterday”

The work we bring to the meetings should be no longer than it takes to read in five minutes or less.The time limit has proved a useful curb on verbiage!

We've been delighted by the wide range of different responses to the themes we’ve come up with, both in style and content.

Further activities for the future will include workshops, public readings in the Arts Centre programme, outreach into local schools and more detailed exploration and analysis for those members submitting their work for more in-depth feedback.

We regularly display members' work in the Arts Centre foyer and place audio/video recordings of it here and on HAC's facebook page.

We pay a yearly membership fee of £20.

For further information do contact our secretary : [email protected]


Here are some videos we’ve made during the lockdowns. 


And here are some pieces written by our members 

An Invitation - David Powley
Every night there is a woman standing
at the edge of the sea
feet just in the water
savouring the grains of sand
as they cleanse her soles
watching the horizon
longing to accept
the moon’s invitation
to swim down her silver path -

and watching her tonight
I think she might. 

Because many miles
beneath her feet
she connects
sole to sand-pricked sole
with a girl at the edge
of another sea though
in truth the same water
facing the morning sun
and its invitation to swim
down its golden path - 

and seeing her this day
I think she may.

Upside Down - David Powley
I’d be loth
to hang
like a sloth
upside down,
my smile
a frown.

Altering the Clocks 2020 -   David Smith 
After the essential ones, the kitchen, the bedroom
I normally dodge this job
but seem more concientious this year
hunting forgotten ones
suprising the garden shed
which can dawdle for weeks. 

The wrist watch with the nail-breaking winder
and even my old truck
which usually tells the correct time
for only half the time. 

a big reminder that the seasons
are ignoring what is going on
bringing hope
an hour nearer

That afternoon in Lisbon -   David Smith

when I was absolutely confident
there was no action
in that siesta shuttered city
of chrome sky, indolent air
sleeping dogs. 

I knew it was exactly the time to ask
if you were languishing
under that lazy fan
a faint breeze playing your legs
through the slats and
whether I could join you
put your book down quickly
being confident that there was
absolutely nothing better
to do.

A Man I Used to Know  - Sue Harris

“Now then. I’ve just come to have a cup of coffee with you, lass.”

So he would turn up, unannounced, at my back door, and he and his dog would come in and settle at the kitchen table. At ease, he would reach into his pockets, slowly unpacking his tobacco and rolling a cigarette, with practiced yellowing fingers, while the kettle boiled.

We had lived in the village for fifteen years and were still regarded as newcomers. The story went that you had to fall in the beck before you could consider yourself a true villager, and I soon realized only children did that. Robin was the first real ‘villager’, rather than ‘incomer,’ to have crossed my doorstep.

And so there he sat, ancient underpants rolled over the top of grubby trousers, splendid in grey Victorian whiskers, regaling me with stories about the village and villagers past and present, one of them about a ‘yowth’ who ‘fell up off ladder t’other day’.

The children would burst in from school and look at me quizzically. This was a smoke and dog-free house hold, yet there the old man sat, wreathed in smoke, watched by his adoring old dog, whose smell had by now pervaded the house. She struggled to get up to welcome them, and found that she was just tall enough to do a circuit of the room, licking all the kitchen’s surfaces. They fled.

Robin had first come along, agile and fearless, to replace cracked pantiles on the roof, somehow always sourcing old tiles which fitted and matched perfectly. Over time, though, he became less agile and wiser. He took to turning up at the end of winter, announcing that he’d ‘come to clear t’gutters’. His bills were random, sometimes negligent, sometimes exorbitant, depending on need.

On one such visit Robin was waiting for me when I came home from work. He gestured at the doorstep.

“I’m coming back tomorrow to fix your step,” he said. “We can’t have ye living wi’ that.” I looked at the back door. I was so used to the step that I had never noticed how narrow and unstable it was. The next day I returned to find two solid steps the width of paving stones. Henceforth, each exit from the house was to be a dramatic entrance onto the world’s stage.

“Thank you very much. Do you have a bill for me?”

“Nay lass. I shall be back tomorrow to put you up a handrail.”

“I don’t need a handrail, Robinl!”

“Yer will.”

It was not long after that I heard that Robin had died. We can’t always tell who we will profoundly miss. I think of him in all my comings and goings.